GMB London Region says pay rises for public sector workers is a smokescreen

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GMB London Region welcomes the Chancellors announcement of pay rises for public sector workers, but says it does not go far or wide enough

Yesterday the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced public sector pay increases but this news fails to address the real underlying issues for key workers across the public sector.

Firstly many key workers have not been included in the announcement, including nurses and other clinical and non-clinical staff in hospitals. Care workers, working mainly for outsourced private sector companies, have also been ignored, as have other key workers such as refuse workers and other council staff.

As with all such announcements you need to go behind the headlines and look at the detail.

These pay rises will go to less than 20% of public sector workers and to nobody who have been outsourced to a private sector company such as many hospital cleaners and porters.

Sunak has also said that there is no new money for pay and the rises will have to come out of existing budgets, leaving NHS Trusts and local councils with the unenviable task of trying to balance the books and potentially looking at cuts and redundancies as a means of paying for the increases.

In a letter to government departments Sunak has also said “we must exercise restraint in future public sector pay awards”. Raising fears that those key workers not covered by yesterday’s announcement will be presented with below inflation settlements later in the year or next year and that as the threat of Covid-19 diminishes the country will be dragged back into a period of austerity by the Tories.

GMB London Region is asking the government to think again. They should be planning for growth and investment and not more austerity and misery.

We clapped for key worker every Thursday night during the crisis, but clapping does not pay the bills. They deserve better than the Chancellor served up to them yesterday.

See latest GMB London Region press release here